Danger of Dart tunnel raised by NRA

| 23/10/2017 | 251 Comments
Cayman News Service

Work underway on West Bay Road

(CNS): The West Bay Road Tunnel, one of the most dramatic changes to the appearance of that road, is due to be completed during the first quarter of next year, but a planned extension by another 195 feet could now be in question. The extension application will be considered at a Central Planning Authority meeting on Wednesday, but concerns from the National Roads Authority about the dangers to pedestrians, height restrictions and lack of justification for a longer tunnel have been outlined on the agenda.

NRA officials have pointed to a number of “pedestrian conflicts and near misses experienced during this current construction phase of the WB Road Tunnel”.

The roads authority said that the CPA should give consideration to a number of factors before granting permission for this latest addition to the tunnel, especially in light of issues relating to the existing tunnel on the Esterley Tibbetts Highway, where there have been a number of incidents, including a tree being stuck in the underpass.

“The existing tunnel on West Bay Road is inherently restrictive to both pedestrians and large pieces of equipment traversing north and south bound, both during and after construction,” the NRA stated in its comments to the CPA about the West Bay Road tunnel extension. “There is no conclusive justification for the tunnel extension being deemed necessary or appropriate; the proposed future development plans provided offer very little indication of timelines and scheduled construction dates and it appears as if these plans are subject to change as future acquisitions become a reality.”

The NRA made it clear that it does not believe the extension is appropriate and suggests the tunnel extension should not be approved.

The Department of Environment, which had raised concerns during the original tunnel application, repeated its position that the proposal should be the subject of a more comprehensive review, including a public consultation due to the nature of its impact on traffic, the topography of the area and its scale.

The completion of the first phase of the tunnel is less than six months away and the equipment is already on island. Work on installing the massive steel girders, which will create the tunnel and allow the applicant, Cayman Shores Development Ltd, a subsidiary of Dart Real Estate, to cover the West Bay Road and link Dart-owned Camana Bay directly to Seven Mile Beach is expected to begin before the end of the year.

The underpass project was approved by the CPA and construction began well before Dart acquired Royal Palms. But in early September, after purchasing that piece of beachfront property, the company submitted this planning request to extend the length of the tunnel and incorporate its latest acquisition.

The company is also seeking to amend the Planned Area Development (PAD) for the continued development of Camana Bay as it stretches and merges into the Seven Mile Beach area as the real estate mogul acquires more and more property in this famous tourist area of Grand Cayman.

In a press release posted on the Dart Real Estate website last month, president Jackie Doak said the planned road infrastructure is part of master planning at Camana Bay to facilitate expansion towards Seven Mile Beach.

“The underpass will achieve our goal of developing a walkable town, with ease of travel from Seven Mile Beach to the North Sound without having to cross a major road or impacting traffic flow,” she said. “The newer, longer underpass will provide additional pedestrian access from Camana Bay to the Seven Mile Beach area, similar to the enhanced experience offered on the Rise, which has already been well-travelled by residents and visitors.”

West Bay Road tunnel extension – CPA Agenda 25 October 2017

See all CPA meeting agendas and minutes

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Category: development, Local News

Comments (251)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Can’t extend tunnel north due to Sovereign boundary, so they can only extend it south , blocking what is now Royal Palms and infringing on the boundary for the Seaview residents on the west side of the road. Hoping for planning to stop this extension, enough is enough .

  2. Concerned Caymanian says:

    Does anyone else think Dart is now the most powerful man in the Carribean and Caymanians gave him the keys? Why continue to let him control everything, next you’ll hear he’s running for Gov and seeking independence. Wake up Cayman, dont let Dart make the same mistake Michael Manley made snuff it out before its too late.

  3. Anonymous says:

    With the rapid degradation of West Bay Road into a concrete pit, i’m not surprised Dart has decided to construct a giant colon for us all to pile thru and shart out the other side

    • Anonymous says:

      Hush you mout, Dart ROYALTY tell us dis just a pedestrian crossing , cos dey know we stupid .

  4. Whisky Bravo says:

    Anyone couldve done this with money, you cant really blame kenneth dart because hes not the only one with a networth of 6 billion and a dream. So question our government sectors with the people that approve of this sh*t that happens.

    • anonymous says:

      Exactly! It’s no good blaming old Ken, after all he’s just trying to put food on the table like any other billionaire. The true focus of our ire should be the useless idiots who facilitated him.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Many CNS regulars assume the majority of Caymanians are anti-Dart, therefore they will automatically support every thing DART does.

    Never mind that the core of this debate runs contrary to just about every enlightened modern tenet as it concerns development, protection of the environment, and eco-friendly tourism.

    The old “enemy of my enemy is my friend” dynamic at play.

    For this reason alone we cannot allow the reins of the country to fall into the hands of such people.

    • Nicky says:

      The NRA still have no idea how to fix that wreck they built called a death-by-round-a-bout that everyone blames on Dart, why haven’t they fixed their mess since they know so much? It’s been years now, and I think we would all support a fixing of that current trap of their own making A.S.A.P THANK YOU!

  6. anonymous says:

    I’m concerned about the effect of carbon monoxide poisoning on persons sat in cars inside of these tunnels. Carbon monoxide is a deadly odourless gas, and internal combustion engines still produce it by the bucketful, despite their catalytic converters.Your A/C has two settings, one that mixes outside air with the airflow within the car, the other that excludes the outside air. I would advise everyone to ensure their A/C system is set to the latter to avoid being poisoned unless you are wearing a gas mask. As regards those driving convertibles (“drop tops”), my advise is to avoid these tunnels, again, unless you are wearing a gas mask.Yes, I’ve seen those jet-engine-looking contraptions, but, honestly, you wanna put your faith in them? What happens if they malfunction or catch fire? Which brings me to the subject of fires inside of the tunnels. Cars do catch fire, either spontaneously or as a result of an accident. Just about the last place you want to be anywhere near a burning vehicle is trapped inside of a confined space, like a tunnel. I wonder if any real safety assessment was ever done prior to the Planning Department giving their seal of approval to the construction of these tunnels. Oh, and my advise to pedestrians is pretty simple : under no circumstances enter any of these tunnels on foot, particularly if you have a breathing problem. You might not make it to the other end!

    • Anonymous says:

      yes this has been considered many times before…… hence health and safety regulations and building codes…..
      this comment sums up everything wrong about public opinion……..

      • anonymous says:

        Yes, and no doubt in your limited way of thinking it is the public’s fault for having the “wrong opinion” that has repeatedly led to incidents of tragic loss of life ……….. look up the tragedy that befell the poorer social class residents of the Grenfell Tower in London. The “health and safety” experts subsequently discovered the same death-traps in tens of other tower blocks throughout the U.K. Presumably all these had also been “considered many times before”.

        2.04pm’s comment really does sum up something : bloody arrogance coupled with pig ignorance!

      • Anonymous says:

        So if Dart builds it then HAS TO BE GOOd, Right? No wrong.

    • Anonymous says:

      Typical CO emissions from a gasoline engine are 10-14% by volume according to this journal published in 1995: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/00966665.1955.10467686

      Emissions regulations have probably tightened by a large margin in 20+ years, so that value is probably less in reality. The tunnel, even with the extension in question, is less than 650ft… so its basically open air. All tunnels also need to have sufficient ventilation equipment for fire safety standards as per regulation.

      As for pedestrians I’m sure there will be ways to avoid walking in the tunnel, if its even allowed.

      You’ll be fine.

      • anonymous says:

        Thanks, 5.46am, for your very considered response to my post re. emissions within the tunnel. I was wondering if the emission figures you quote apply to Cayman as we have almost a majority of vehicles that might well not meet U.S. emission regulations? Same thing for ventilation equipment and fire safety. Bit of a mystery about pedestrian use, but I cannot imagine it being allowed, which leads to an “up and over” approach, maybe involving an elevator for those unable to scale up the grade?

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, because so many people are killed in the millions of underpasses built around the world. Sheesh! Try to learn before you post such nonsense.

      • anonymous says:

        My goodness, you speak with such assurance that such a tragedy could never possibly occur here. Your use of the expression “sheesh” indicates youthfulness and a great deal of learning to be had about the real world, my friend. Good luck in your quest, and try and not “multitask” behind the wheel lest you rear end an 80’s Ford Victoria in a tunnel and the car explodes. (That’s the car they declined to recall because it was cheaper to pay damages – but then that’s probably “nonsense” as well!)

    • Anonymous says:

      Its almost like any excuse will do to knock anything Dart does…there are tunnels elsewhere miles long…no issues, and see the fans? That’s what they are there for. You should be worried more by following one of those black smoke belching trucks or buses-they should be taken off the road..

      • anonymous says:

        I wish I had your confidence, mac. But there simply ‘ain’t “tunnels elsewhere miles long” here as you may have noticed driving around Grand Cayman. Yes, I see the fans. They look ugly and entirely inappropriate here in Cayman. Whoever selected them has a total absence of taste and probably a whole bunch of other stuff. Obviously you are not from here, and therefore may have a different perspective on pretty much everything that those who know and love Cayman have. That’s not your fault, but look, sportsfan, what you are familiar with as you squinted through a bird-crapped-on windscreen (US “windshield”) as you drove to work in the Bronx isn’t applicable here in the Cayman Islands, and the sooner that hits a brain nerve the better, okay?

    • Anonymous says:

      I drove through the Gotthard Road Tunnel in Switzerland a few weeks ago.
      During the busy season, an average of 20,000 vehicles drive through it daily.


      At 17 kilometres long, I watched the outside temperature reading rise from 18C to 34.5C as we approached the centre – and back down again.

      I am quite sure we will be just fine in Ken-Ken’s lil’ car tube.

      (Sarcasm aside, safety is an important concern but all things considered, I believe we’re in good standing.)

      – Who

  7. Anonymous says:

    The government is to blame for all of this. Didn’t they see that they were going to kill the beauty of seven mile beach before giving the go ahead to Dart. If the Government keeps this up and let Dart have his way what will Cayman be like in the next couple of years.

    We should be all kicking ourselves for electing the politicians who are in Government right now. They promise everything you could think of but still can’t have the balls to bring change. I say to the politicians if you love your Country you will do what is right. Stop the madness, focus on what is right, get Cayman back on track, and make the changes that will make Cayman better for present and the future generations.

    I could go on and on about the problems that Cayman is facing but all I would like to say is this Caymanians we need to unite, release the hate and love one another, we are too small of a community and a country to sit down and make the Government make the wrong choices. I encourage each and every person including loved ones/ family members of the elected officials / MLAs to not think of the almighty dollar but to make the right decisions for our country, for your parents, children and grandchildren and future generations to come.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I am appalled at the ignorance, made up lies being dreamed up on here, with no facts to support it. Seeing the voting levels as unusually high, have to conclude someone has started an anti Dart campaign, a la Kirkbot style over the port. You want to know what’s going on, go to Camana bay discovery office and find out. Anything else is pure Marl Road bs.

  9. Whisky Bravo says:

    Well hopefully when half the antarctic melts, he can help us stay afloat. I dont like some of his ideas but im sure he will help us when we need it. (I’m feeling good today)

  10. Anonymous says:

    Sorry to wreck another great Dart rant, but Darts developments I’d wager are all in the red by hundreds of millions….Cayman is the only place it seems Dart seems to not mind losing money, or better yet tirelessly invest.

    Dart imports wealth to this island.

    • Anonymous says:

      I thought all of you always said that ” anyting Mr. daaat bill is done good?” Wha happen dis time?

      • Anonymous says:

        Those that were thought to be blind have opened their eyes to Dart and what the government allows him to do. About time too!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      You could be right, but this is also just your opinion because you don’t know the financials.

    • Anonymous says:

      If anyone thinks that this extension was not always part of Dart plans all along they were being foolhardy.It guess it is more palatable to do it piecemeal. We might as well just give him the keys to Cayman (oops already did that) guess we will all have to move to the mother country. I understand they just bought up a huge chunk of Cayman Brac and has plans to turn lLittle Cayman into a tourist destination of trails and lanes. Wonder if Mr. Mose or Ms. Julie can shed any light on that for us. We are sure in deep doo doo. Nothing is being left for the younger generations while certain ones are selling us out.

      • Anonymous says:

        Moses, Mac, Alden and JuJu are the big sellouts to Dart.

        The next generation will rise up and take the Cayman Islands back – read the Bahamian history of how they took the Bahamas back for Bahamians.

        Time to rise up now!

        • Anonymous says:

          Yeh, come the revolution we will be exactly like the Bahamas…a crime infested, gun toting, corrupt place where no-one wants to go.

          • Lomart says:

            Do you have any idea how many tourists go to the Bahamas each year? Oh……I thought not.

    • anonymous says:

      So we should be thankful, is that what you’re saying? Wow, a billionaire who doesn’t mind “losing money”. I just can’t shake off the suspicion that all this “losing money” is part of a long term strategy, you know? Look, sportsfan, I was born on a Sunday, it just wasn’t last Sunday, okay? Quit with the B.S. for crying out loud.

    • Anonymous says:

      unlike cayman airways…turtle farm….etc….
      all run by cig (caymanians)…..

      • Lomart says:

        Since Dart doesn’t mind losing money, perhaps he will help the government out by taking that losing venture of Turtle Farm!

    • Anonymous says:

      By driving out the merchant classes and taking control of each profitable industry it can actually also be claimed that Dart is a destroyer of wealth in this island.

    • Anonymous says:

      No one is complaining about how many trees Dart has planted or how much good he has done for Cayman.
      It’s the TUNNEL and it’s ruin of an open and gentle thorofare for cars and pedestrians , called The West Bay road.

    • Anonymous says:

      I know what our rent is…he makes money, believe me…

    • Anonymous says:

      i’d suggest that he’s not losing money exactly, he’s usually buying land that often is swampland or poorly developed and then increasing its paper value by financing development on it at presumably near zero if not negative interest rates (inter-company lending) to enable it all to be rented out and then that ‘return’ is booked in the accounts and all of a sudden his balance sheet of assets looks rosy…he can probably ‘value’ his investments in Cayman at many billions far in excess of actual cash outlaw…..for what reason, who knows…it’s all really odd, maybe it’s one giant memorial to himself…maybe google maps will show one day he’s actually built a shape of his face that can only be seen from 20,000ft, the tunnnel may be his mouth smiling up at us….who knows……the downside is obvious, the competition in the markets he finances tend to collapse as they cannot afford to compete against the arguably false and unfair subsidization of his businesses and tenants businesses..but when has capitalism had to be fair?…and the construction certainly seems to be on the over-developed side and judging by reaction to this tunnel, he’s really pushing public tolerance this time…..but if he’s not being objected to or prevented from doing it, who can blame him…he seems to have money to burn and a grand plan that makes very little sense to most ….i think there would be far less objection if he’d actually be more public and let us into the rationales….maybe also bail out the local education system and schools with a view to long term full caymanian employment based on future generations being schooled.educated well, etc…..flip side is, he does an incredible amount for charity and funding CIG projects already….we’re probably better off with him, imagine if we kept reading about him in St Martin or Bahamas, we’d be so jealous

      • Anonymous says:

        This comment should get an award. Exactly my thoughts. The projects seem like a legacy plan..ok fine, but in the meanwhile having no necessity to actually turn a profit is really a scary thought to competing businesses that either make a profit or go bankrupt.
        Tomorrow Dart can decide he wants to get into the grocery business, build a couple of super stores, first class, lower the price of milk and bread for a couple of years and then own the grocery business in Cayman outright.
        I agree, it would be helpful if he wasn’t such a hermit and actually engaged with the community more and I don’t mean just throwing money around. Let us in on it.

  11. Diogenes says:

    Few things in Cayman are as controversial as this tunnel/underpass seems to be, the discord is extraordinary even for our standards. Meanwhile XXXXX the CIG is locking up young Caymanians for possessing marijuana while other developed nations have weed-cafes and other such establishments, meanwhile the resources and care provided to our disenfranchised and abandoned young people is comparable to prison standards. Meanwhile the CIG is selling off assets that could be useful and are gaining value daily just because they feel like it ( I guess they can just forcibly take any land they want anyway so it doesn’t matter). Meanwhile education is in the gutter and the CIG seems unable to even finish buildings to allow the schools to have adequate space for the number of students attending.

    Point is,
    You’ll have to forgive me if I don’t give a damn about the length of a tunnel in the heart of the ever expanding concrete jungles that are GT and WB. There are more important issues that deserve your attention Cayman, a tunnel will not be the end of us, but turning all our attention to one singular issue (whether it’s Dart and his machinations or otherwise) is a bad idea. Pay attention to any issues you choose, but I hope that everyone speaks up in the same way when it has to do with something that doesn’t involve Dart or religion or arbitrary morals. As much as I love joking about these issues and poking fun at the CIG, Caymanians as the electorate we need to be passionate for issues that we can change for the better, In this instance (to me at least) it is of little or no importance.


  12. Mr. D says:

    I have one question has anyone looked at the original approve tunnel Plans that were posted in the News. https://www.caymancompass.com/2015/02/03/dart-unveils-300m-camana-bay-plan/

    • Anonymous says:

      What a disgusting lack of sensitivity for the open tree lined West Bay road which is being turned into downtown Chicago.

      • Anonymous says:

        Dart has put in more trees than any other developer on this island…but don’t let facts get in the way of a good moan

        • Anonymous says:

          By far the dumbest comment I have seen in a while. If you are responsible for laying more asphalt on Cayman than any individual in its history why does it matter how many trees he has planted ?! they certainly do not account for the natural flora and fauna he has removed. You idiot.

        • PD says:

          What the boss wants done will be done so quit complaining and make the best out of it

        • Anonymous says:

          A Dart Minion Commenr.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thought it looked more like a massive foundation than a ‘tunnel’. Especially with the scope of the drilling and extensive pipe/pump works installation beside Burger King. Dart not trying to hide anything just no one is asking questions. The whole development has been hiding in plain sight since inception. ‘Danger’ should have been questioned by NRA many years ago.

    • Anonymous says:

      Did anyone read all of the comments made by Darts public relations people the “Dart Minioms” making Parrott Comments?

  13. Anonymous says:

    Surely putting the cars underground so the space up top can be used by humans is a good thing? Personally I’d like to see all of WB road in a tunnel so we can have a nice boardwalk instead of an incrossable race track.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Well, now I’m pissed off. One tunnel, inland, was a novelty and sign of development I was, for the most part, happy to see. Two tunnels, one of them bridging and shrinking our coastal road, I could barely deal with, especially as we don’t know what is going to go on top of them yet (or how high vehicles or loads will get through – someone didn’t think about that one). This is taking the piss though. You got your second tunnel – you don’t get to make it bigger whenever you buy property nearby! DART is the only organisation on the island that can just keep buying and developing adjacent land and bamboozling the government with construction plans that are advanced for the island, come with drawbacks and don’t get considered properly. We should not be sleep-approving EVERYTHING they want to do…we need to wake up. DART’s projects are great quality – they’re also never asked for! Whether it’s one or two tunnels of whatever size, no one thought they were missing out without them. Why are they there now? DART said so because it would give DART more Camana Bay for its Camana Bay. Why should we care about their profits?! If they want to build a concrete jungle, I don’t have a problem with that per se – but we don’t have an obligation to make DART money – if it isn’t already – by approving every single thing they want to build! They have enough ideas and money, and have sunk enough money into Cayman, that we can start being a little more picky about what we approve and they won’t be going anywhere else. This is the application to start with.

    • Anonymous says:

      Calm down 12.34. All he is doing is building more caves for people like you to live in, so you don’t have to see or understand what progress is…if you ask nicely he may even not connect to the power grid, and will bring you land crabs and (legal) turtle to eat. He thought one would be enough, but hey, everyone makes mistakes.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree and one of the main challenges with this project is that there will be no route to move large objects that might exceed the height of these tunnels along the West Bay Road. Few people supported the closure of the West Bay road along the public beach and now with these tunnels, residents cannot even catch a glimpse of the ocean along the West Bay road anymore!! Beware the road toll is next!!

      • Anonymous says:

        4.08, don’t know what you are on but it is very good at inducing fairytale story telling abilities…Marl Road stuff…no basis in fact whatsoever

        • anonymous says:

          4.49 pm, this “debunking” stuff – you part of some kinda Dart “swat team” operating out of Caymana Bay? Like the punctuation pauses, however. Very stylish.

        • Anonymous says:

          Dart comment.!

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